“Let anyone with ears listen”! (Matthew 11:15)

Sometimes I wonder if people are awake and making an effort to hear. When I have made a doctors’ appointment, I give all the information they ask for: name, birthdate, address, telephone, email, insurance, etc. I tell them and then they ask for it again, which I give but louder. They reply, “Stop shouting”. My answer is, “Were you listening the first time I gave it to you”?

I remember when I was a child, every Sunday at 6:15am our family would crowd into our father’s four-door Sedan and leave to go to 6:30 Mass. Half-asleep, I sat through much of the Mass dozing off, especially at the Homily. Not caring of the important words of the priest, I shut my ears off from listening. If I heard the same today, I know I would perk up my ears and awaken to the words. Listening takes practice, maybe even a lifetime’s worth.

“Listening is what Benedictine spirituality is all about in a culture that watches, but seldom listens. To live without listening is not to live at all; it is simply to drift in my own backwater” (82-83 Chittister)

Sometimes when talking on the telephone the other person talks so fast I ask them to repeat the words slower. They ask me if I was listening and I answer, “Yes, I was, and wanted to hear every one of your words. I am also paying close attention”.

It must be a challenge to become hard-of-hearing. I have a niece who was born deaf. She uses sign-language to communicate with other deaf individuals. She also reads lips so one must face her to communicate. She is a mother and grandmother and recently retired. She observes, communicates, and above all LISTENS in her own way.

If only we could concentrate on listening enough to hear the whisper in our ears for the voice of God as we walk with Him through our earthly journey.

Mary, Mother of Jesus

Karen Fleming is a longtime companion and friend of
St. Paul’s Monastery and is a frequent contributor to St. Paul’s Monastery communications.